When Joe West ejected Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo from a game in Atlanta a week and a half ago, Rizzo never actually went anywhere, he hilariously revealed in an interview with The Sports Junkies on Friday.
"I was chirping about a pitch that I was disagreeing with the home plate umpire, and they heard me," Rizzo recalled during the interview, presented by Burke & Herbert Bank.
"Ten feet outside," Jason Bishop interjected, "and he called it a strike."
"They tossed me out," Rizzo continued. "I didn't leave, of course, but they went through the process of pretending to throw me out."
This was the Ump Show of all Ump Shows, you'll recall. With two outs in the top of the seventh and Eric Thames at the plate, umpire Hunter Wendelstedt stopped the game and began pointing up toward the stands behind home plate. Someone could be heard on the broadcast saying "you’re done. You’re out. … call security."
West, the crew chief, was then seen walking toward the dugout and later on a phone — presumably with security to remove the culprit. Cameras revealed Rizzo to be that culprit, seen standing at the front of a suite, shouting toward the field from the third deck
"So what do you do, then," Eric Bickel asked. "You just kind of stand a little further back in the suite and watch?"
"I did nothing," said Rizzo. "I stood there and watched the rest of the game."
"Look at that. That's hilarious," Bickel said. "You weren't worried that they were gonna like... I mean what could they do, I guess?"
"What could they do? What threat was I, anyways, to do anything?" Rizzo said. "Yeah, where was I supposed to go? You can't go in the clubhouse because of COVID. There's certain protocols and you can't go to. Yeah, it was silly."
"Well, I mean the call was ridiculous," Bishop said. "It was a called strike and it was about eight feet outside, from what I remember."
"Yeah, you know. It was kind of a summary of the way the game was called that day," said Rizzo. "Yeah, like you would as a fan. You're like, 'Wow. That was a brutal call on that pitch.' And for some reason... you know, I was one person in an arena of 45,000 seats, so I was I guess the only vocal... it was the only word they could hear from the stands. I was about 2,000 feet away from the game, by the way."
"Yeah, that's amazing," Bickel said. "So hold on. So you scream or whatever, they make a big scene, they throw you out, and you literally don't move? You don't even think about it? You're like I'm not going anywhere."
"With all the protocols, there's nowhere really to go," Rizzo said. "I mean, where do you leave the suite on the third level, to go... where? By the field? In the clubhouse? You're not allowed in the clubhouse because of the COVID protocols. I don't know. What do you sit outside of the stadium? I didn't know what to do, so I just stayed there and watched the rest of the game."
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